Western powers weighed their options on Friday over possible strikes against Syria's regime as pressure built to avoid an escalation and Russian Federation stepped up its warnings against military action which it said could lead to "war".
As fears of a Russia confrontation with Western powers mount, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep concerns" over the situation in Syria in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia (L) and Bolivia's Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz speak to the media outside Security Council chambers at the U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S., April 12, 2018. "The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", he told reporters.
The investigators, who are mandated to determine only if chemical weapons were used and not who used them, were expected to start their investigations into the Douma incident on Saturday, the Netherlands-based organization said.
"We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies", it said.
"God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria on the lines of the Libyan and Iraqi experience", he told a news conference, referring to Western interventions elsewhere in the region.
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Russian Federation said that the Western powers "cynically" carried out military action hours before a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to begin an investigation into the suspected chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta that sparked the intervention by the USA and its allies.
"All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons".
The capture of Douma from rebels who evacuated this week has clinched a major victory for Assad, crushing what was once a center of the insurgency near Damascus, and underlines his seemingly unassailable position in the war.
Any U.S. strike would probably involve the Navy.
She accused Russian Federation of defending Syrian President Bashar Assad and failing to ensure that Syria's chemical weapons were destroyed as the Assad regime had pledged in 2013.
He met his national security team later in the day and "no final decision has been made", the White House said in a statement.
What is less clear is whether sarin - the agent used in the chemical attack last April that prompted USA missile strikes - or a similar agent was also used.